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Shola, 18 - Business Admin at Filtered

"I’m glad that I had the independence and initiative to choose being an apprentice, I believe that this choice will benefit me for the rest of my life."

Read more of Shola's story below

What's it like being an apprentice at your age?

"It’s amazing. I love it. I love working, learning and earning – knowing that not only is my career beginning but I am also gaining accredited qualifications too. Being an apprentice proves its challenges also, it’s hard to leave the majority of your age group behind and adopt the maturity of an adult whilst adapting to the workforce. Although apprenticeships are widely accepted, there is an overwhelming amount of pressure on young people to go to university these days and I feel as if many individuals' vocation and aspirations become drowned out by this expectation."

Do you feel a lot of pressure to deliver and prove yourself now that you chose a different route than most people your age?

"I do indeed. Many of my peers question the validity of apprenticeships, whether they can lead to a promising future, or whether they are just a quick fix to fill in skill gaps for those who do not wish to reach further up the education systems ladder.

I feel as if it’s down to me to prove that there is so much success to be made from one who decides to think for themselves, defy the odds and puts their determination into their passion, rather than going down a traditional path (i.e. university) which might not be right for them."

What does being an apprentice mean to you?

"So much. I cannot tell you how much being an apprentice has changed my life. I felt completely lost during college and didn’t know which path to go down, it was quite overwhelming.

Being an apprentice has allowed me to feel a sense of establishment, it’s given me that kick-start in life. Being an apprentice has allowed me to see my own potential and believe in my future and for that reason alone, it means everything."

Life as an apprentice must be really exciting right now?

"Yes! So exciting. Having the opportunity to be independent, to integrate into an amazing workplace and collaborate with amazing colleagues whose interest is for you to develop into a young professional is amazing.

 Earning money is also fantastic – it’s a bonus. Getting paid to learn and do what I love is great. I couldn’t be more thankful.

 Further opportunities, i.e giving presentations, networking, meeting new clients and trips are also fantastic chances. I often ask myself “how did I get such a great opportunity?”. I really am grateful to QA and my workplace for putting all into place for me."

What's been the most exciting moment so far?

"I was given the opportunity to speak to the whole company about myself, my aspirations and my ambitions.

Having the attention of such talented professionals and knowing that they cared to be informed about myself really excited me. Also receiving such amazing feedback gave me a boost.

On the back of doing this presentation one of our Directors, Dr. Chris Littlewood, gave me the opportunity to work on a psychology based project. It was nice that through mentioning my personal interests I was able to grasp the opportunity to practice what I like (psychology) at work."

So, where does your confidence come from?

"My confidence comes from knowing my worth and the amount of work I have done that I should embrace and project. Having picked up the skills that I have through my apprenticeship, I know that the sky is the limit and I believe that my success will be down to my sheer determination, capability, and willingness to learn and progress."

What's work culture like?

"We are a very driven company and quite informal in the way we dress - we can wear casual clothes to work. Also, we're very close, we have an all for one, one for all approach!"

Any fun lunch time activities with the team?

"Yes, so most recently we headed out to BYRON, a burger restaurant, for a delicious lunch and a whole afternoon workshop in the space we had hired. The food was great and the afternoon highly productive – nice to get some time out of the office."

Any talents? Interesting facts about you?

"Yes. I sing in a church choir, play the violin and I love ice skating! Read this blog here."

Quote that describes your work ethic?

"Informal, friendly and vibrant – with lots of banter!"

Preferred holiday destination?

"I would love to visit the developing world and give back to poorer communities. I feel as if in my lifetime I have been privileged to go on some amazing holidays with my family. I want to make a difference and maybe do some volunteering holidays. I’m thinking of an orphanage in Thailand for a couple of weeks!"

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